A global assessment of the effects of climate policy on the impacts of climate change
Arnell, N. W., Lowe, J. A., Brown, S., Gosling, S. N., Gottschalk, P., Hinkel, J., Lloyd-Hughes, B., Nicholls, R. J., Osborn, T. J., Osborne, T. M., Rose, G. A., Smith, P. and Warren, R. F. (2013) A global assessment of the effects of climate policy on the impacts of climate change. Nature Climate Change, 3. pp. 512-519. ISSN 1758-678X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1793
This study presents the first global-scale multi-sectoral regional assessment of the magnitude and uncertainty in the impacts of climate change avoided by emissions policies. The analysis suggests that the most stringent emissions policy considered here – which gives a 50% chance of remaining below a 2oC temperature rise target - reduces impacts by 20-65% by 2100 relative to a ‘business-as-usual’ pathway (A1B) which reaches 4oC, and can delay impacts by several decades. Effects vary between sector and region, and there are few noticeable effects of mitigation policy by 2030. The impacts avoided by 2100 are more strongly influenced by the date and level at which emissions peak than the rate of decline of emissions, with an earlier and lower emissions peak avoiding more impacts. The estimated proportion of impacts avoided at the global scale is relatively robust despite uncertainty in the spatial pattern of climate change, but the absolute amount of avoided impacts is considerably more variable and therefore uncertain.